The Famous Blue Bicycles

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He cracks open a fresh deck of blue Bicycles
I watch him deal,
one from the bottom and three from the top
Pours a Makers Mark for the mark’s been made
I’d say something smart –
but I expect it’s too late to stop

Outside a dog’s barkin,
and some kid’s throwin’ a stick for it
But he keeps throwin’ it into traffic
Crazy lookin’ kid,
somewhere round thirteen I guess
Looks like the kind’d light up your cat –
a little sick
Or throw cricket balls onto your roof
on a hot still night
No jack’ll ever get this kid to confess

Someone racks up a frame in the corner
There’s money and aggression in the air
Too much testosterone and cheap beer
Some stud does a bad break
and hits the mark behind the ear with the cue ball
He’s holdin’ Aces and Eights – and the queen of spades
Wild Bill’s got a straight to the nine
Zap – seein’ all this – grabs the pot and makes a run
He’s just a little too slow – the cueball jumper brains him
Empties his pockets and throws him out in the street
Seriously concussed and bleeding like a stuck pig

I go behind the bar and make mochaccinos for the crew
And fix myself a chamomile and chicory
And pick up the joker that’s layin’ on the bar
Shaved on two corners
The chump never had a show
And outside as the rain starts fallin’

I see the dog chase the kid through the alley
Snappin’ like all hell was breakin loose
Smart bitch that – she don’t take shit
And she’s draggin the seat of his pants
Part doberman looks like
I make a mental note to see if she’s around later
Feed her up a bit
Friends like that can come on handy

The night’s slowed right down
so I pick up my hat
And head for home –
after collecting for the cards
And broken cue
“Shut the light’s Bill –
and bud –
if you break it –
you’re payin !”

I head on down the alley –
hearin’ the buzz from the joint fade away
Water’s fallin’ off the rooftops –
broken down pipes no-one ever bothered to fix.
Gettin’ near home
I see someone’s stuck a pin in my door-frame.
My spare key and  a gold ring are hangin’ off it
“Carlita’s in a mood” I think, and pocket they key
Put the ring back on my little finger
where I should have left it all those years ago
I’d hock it – but last time I tried that
it was fifteen stitches and a long time healing
when she demanded it back
and I only had the ticket to show

I look down
and there’s a battered old untitled book under the stairs
She’s left her journal too –
wants me to read up on all the things I’m missing
And the lips she’s been kissing.
I hate the way her kisses taste of tears
Sweet from her sugar jones
Salt from her her sorrow
Bitter from her years of being kicked around
I find myself wishing I was a habit she’d kick
But then – when she’s good – she’s the best
And I miss her dirty rice

I gotta shop
Tomorrow’s a holiday
And I don’t want to have to rely on the old Korean
for serious food
There’s a gray ghost down the block
She’s writing tickets and soaking wet
No mercy for the drivers today
She’s scrawled chalk marks on the tyres
They look like  bizarre Haitian ritual markings
Grim veve – get outta here –
or there’s a price to pay
I get up beside her and see her hands
They’re delicate – a piano player’s mitt
But she’s got stick on nails
Glitter and crimson
Somehow they don’t fit
The malodour of sweat and cheap perfume
I keep on moving – she’s giving me the evil-eye
And I’ve had enough violence to last me a few hours at least.

Lenny’s mincing down the block
He’s a trip
His bright pink feather boa is soaking wet
It looks like a welt around his throat
And he’s wearing one of those Palestinian scarves as a top
Black and white cloth plastered to his fuzz covered chest
I thinks –
“Radical Chic Mu Mu” and start to laugh
“Darrrrrrrling! My favourite rake –
buy me dinner big boy”
“I can’t stay bella –
but here’s twenty for a wax and a shave”
He takes the pen out of my pocket
and writes a number on my hand
He does it every time we cross paths
The ink’s already running in the rain
“Thanks babe” I say – and head back home
it’s too wet – noodles will do

8/12/2007

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4 Responses to “The Famous Blue Bicycles”

  1. This is just as brilliant as the first day I read it, many years past…

  2. I love this every time I read it. 🙂

    • I actually doctored it a bit this time – got rid of a few superfluous phrases and confustications… Funny how they’ve gotten trough five years of posting and rereading…

      Ta whimsical mimsical. 😉

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